We’re always seeking new participating landowners to join contiguous parcels.
The OCTS trails system is a series of neighborhood trails established and used by small groups of neighbors, each trail with its own set of guidelines determined by the participating landowners (PLOs) of that trail. This encourages neighbors to work together to establish trails on their individual properties, not matter the size of the property. The neighbors allow access to their properties via horse, bike, foot, motorized vehicles, etc., as they see fit. Each neighborhood group is responsible for its trail development and maintenance, with assistance from OCTS if requested. Each neighborhood groups sets the parameters for use of its trail, including but not limited to who can use it and by what means.
While the OCTS Board encourages the establishment of neighborhood trails, it does not take responsibility for building or maintaining them or for defining rules of use of those trails. Board members can however, help guide, point to resources, help moderate discussions, and offer suggestions at any step along the way.
For privacy reasons and due to the difficulty in keeping maps current, OCTS does not provide either online or paper neighborhood trail maps. If you would like to find a trail, use the OCTS Facebook page to ask about one and for a point of contact.
If you are interested in establishing a neighborhood trail and want to be a PLO, here are some specific and general actions to take:
Determine a trail and identify the neighbors who would be impacted.*
Talk to your neighbors to see who is willing to participate and to introduce you to others who would be part of the proposed trail.
Come to an agreement with the PLOs on restrictions and rules (i.e., time of day; days of the week; opening and closing gates; use of motorized vehicles) and ways to mark the trail.
If you are not in a position to develop your own neighborhood trail but would like to find one, use the OCTS Facebook page to ask whose trail is available to use.
Contact the Trail Planner when your trail is completed. This will help OCTS keep up-to-date with our progress. At no time will the OCTS Board publicize the location of the trail or the PLOs.
If you are fencing your property, consider setting the fence line back and extra 10-15 feet from a road or property line to allow riders and hikers a safe and convenient place to traverse.
*The Fauquier County GIS website has links to an excellent GIS map that shows property lines and taxpayer information to help determine a neighborhood trail.
OCTS Trail Etiquette
OCTS Golden Rule – Respect wishes of participating landowners as you traverse their properties.
We rely on the graciousness of our participating landowners, without whom a trail system would not exist. Additional rules of etiquette follow:
Know your own skill sets and physical limitations so you can safely use the trail system and not negatively impact other users or the property, itself. For example, control your dog, horse, or vehicle.
If your route crosses a closed gate, be sure to close that gate. This is particularly important if the gate confines pastured livestock. If it was open, leave it open.
Avoid going through hayfields and croplands – use the perimeters. If you are going through an area with pastured livestock, slow down to a walk and give the livestock a wide berth. If on horseback, NEVER enter a fenced-in area containing other horses.
If a path is becoming worn and rutted, move a few feet to the right or left to avoid this area.
If you damage any property, stop and let the landowner know. Obviously, you are responsible financially for any damages you cause. Likewise, if you see any existing property damage, broken fences, downed livestock, etc., please notify the landowner, who might be unaware.
Talk to your neighbors about existing trails or creating trails ... the OCTS can help you!